Oral historian Pamela Brown-Lavitt interviewed Dorothy Wittenberg on April 26, 2001 in Seattle, Washington as part of the Jewish Women's Archive "Weaving Women's Words" project.
A tireless and loyal volunteer for Jewish causes and Sisterhood, Dorothy Wittenberg initiated and planned, prepared and served the Ida Weinstein Luncheon at Council House for over 25 years. Born in Denver, Colorado, Dorothy grew up in one of the only Jewish families in Tacoma, Washington. After her father's death in 1933, when she was 17, she and her mother moved to Richmond, California where they sold retail clothes and cosmetics in an uncle's department store and Dorothy attended UC Berkeley. In 1948 Dorothy met and married Albert Rosengarten, a jeweler who opened a small business fixing watches in Bremerton, Washington. When her husband died suddenly twelve years later, Dorothy returned to San Francisco. In 1965 she married widower Samuel Wittenberg of Seattle and returned here with him, becoming stepmother to his son. Though she never had children of her own, Dorothy reveled in the role of grandmother and spent her free time baking confectionary masterpieces for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She died on March 21, 2009 at the age of 92.
Dorothy Wittenberg photo: Credit Joan Roth. Joan Roth's website
In the early 2000s, the Jewish Women's Archive conducted oral history interviews with 30 Jewish women living in Baltimore and another 30 in Seattle. Born in the early decades of the 20th century, these women lived through decades of political, social, and economic upheaval, as well as dramatic changes in expectations and opportunities for women. Doctors and lawyers, teachers and saleswomen, judges and social workers, homemakers and community volunteers, the narrators represent a wide range of backgrounds, affiliations, and experiences of American Jewish women. To find out more and to see the online exhibits based on this project, visit Jewish Women's Archive/baltimore and Jewish Women's Archive/seattle
The complete audio recordings and transcripts of the interviews are available on the Internet Archive.
This project was made possible in part by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Brenda Brown Lipitz Rever Foundation, and the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, Inc. In Baltimore, the project was a collaboration with the Jewish Museum of Maryland; in Seattle, with the Museum of History and Industry.